The Government has announced a £1.57 billion support package for the arts, heritage and culture sectors to help with the impact of Covid-19.
Announced yesterday, 5 July, it is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, and includes:
- £1.15 billion for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million in grants.
- £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
- £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- An extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).
Organisations including Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute will help with the award decisions, and further details on the repayable finance terms will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
“Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture.
That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for.”
Mark Cornell, Group Chief Executive of Ambassador Theatre Group, commented on the announcement, saying:
“No doubt this will give institutions across the arts, culture and heritage sector a welcome shot of confidence.
“It is essential that these funds are made available to all areas across the cultural ecosystem, from the subsidised sector to independent contractors, artists, producers, technicians and venue operators. This is an important step towards securing the future of Britain’s cultural life and I’m very grateful to the Secretary of State and his team for their determination and perseverance in bringing this about. We now need to unite to restore audience confidence and work in close partnership with the health authorities to remount British theatre as soon as is appropriately possible.”
Future Arts Centres, which represents over 100 arts centres and cultural venues across the UK and recently outlined its own proposals for how government could provide stimulus for the arts industry, has also welcomed the announcement, with its co-Chairs Gavin Barlow and Annabel Turpin commenting:
“We have consistently argued for support for the arts during and after the pandemic crisis, and like thousands across, we feel a sense of relief at the government’s announcement of a package worth more than one billion pounds to be distributed across the sector.
“We hope that the government will look to not just fund institutions, but to provide support in the immediate and medium term for thousands of individual culture workers across the UK, using grassroots venues to channel vital funding to the people and projects that need it most.
“We believe tax incentives via the Theatre Tax Relief programme can help many venues to start looking to the future with confidence.”
“We also continue to call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to put culture sector training and apprenticeships in the very heart of his plans for a post-Covid recovery. With the right support, the UK’s world class arts and creative industries can provide meaningful and sustainable employment for generations to come.”
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